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Reporters swarmed John C. Malone when he stopped to respond to questions during the 2019 Allen & Co. business, media and technology conference. He is an American billionaire who was CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. for 24 years and currently sits on the boards of directors for Bank of New York Mellon, the Cato Institute and Expedia.com.

Allen & Co. cancelled its annual Sun Valley summit on Thursday, dealing another economic blow to the Wood River Valley, multiple sources familiar with the event confirmed to the Idaho Mountain Express.

Citing safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the boutique New York investment bank notified staff and vendors that it was calling off this year’s iteration of the long-standing conclave, which annually brings some of the world's foremost names in business, media, technology and politics to the resort.

Guests in 2019 included former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, to name a few. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates--three of the four richest people on the planet, according to Forbes Magazine--routinely attend. 

This year would have marked the company’s 38th retreat to the Sun Valley area, where the conference’s founder Herbert Allen Jr. and the company own more than a dozen properties, according to Blaine County records.

The economic impact of Allen & Co. is tough to pin down. Most of the accounting is locked in the private records of two very private businesses: the eponymous investment bank, and Sun Valley Co. For scores of locals, though, from restauranteurs to rafting guides, the conference has provided a reliable boost to business in early July.

But even with the event on hold, the traditionally secretive Allen & Co. has been visible in the valley lately. Since the outbreak began, the company has donated $1 million to the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and $200,000 to The Hunger Coalition, according to the nonprofits.

This is a developing story. For more, check back with mtexpress.com.

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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